The Food Blog Mafia, that is. The website is a blog/clearing house for the talents of a quartet of very talented ladies. Annie Lehrer, Kelli Best-Oliver, Stephanie Tolle and Kelly Green Schmickle are talented, beautiful and downright hilarious foodies that blog about everything from elegant dishes like goose liver pate to less, uhm, traditional fare like Skank Ham.
Last weekend I had the honor of photographing the ladies at Annie’s gorgeous downtown loft for the purposes of updating their headshots and profile photos. They had spent the day imbibing at the St. Louis Food and Wine Experience so inhibitions were not an issue in front of the camera. In fact, it was harder for them to stop laughing than it was to coax a smile from them. I should always be so lucky.
Lighting a small group presented the usual challenges, primarily that of even coverage. I wanted to use a softbox above the fearsome foursome, but I was traveling light and the relatively small 18×24 softbox wasn’t up to the task. Not that there was anywhere above them to mount it, nor did I have a heavy C-stand.
So I improvised a group shot using an SB800 in a reflective umbrella to camera left, with an SB600 set up identically to camera right. I did aim the brollys slightly towards the camera to prevent spill on the wall which had the added benefit of some cool lens flare. This outtake shows the setup, albeit with no light on the knife blade.
I did use the softbox above the ladies (camera left) for some individual shots, supplemented by a pair of SB600’s in Honl grid spots. These rim lights were placed behind and to the sides of each subject, firing toward them at approximately a 45 degree angle.
For the final shots of the night, we took advantage of the patio atop Annie’s building. With some great views of downtown architecture (sadly, no Arch view) I knew it would make a great backdrop for a killer group shot.
I lit the ladies with three lights. An SB-600 is in a shoot-through umbrella at camera right, partially masked to prevent lighting too much of the railing. A second SB-600 is in the softbox on the ground firing up toward the group. Another SB600 (in Honl grid again–love those things) is firing at the backs of the group. I used CLS to trigger the lights in each shot, using the on-board commander indoors and an SB-800 with TTL cord outdoors.
The girls had me (and each other) cracking up all night and were an absolute blast to work with, even on the frigid rooftop. We were all glad to get back inside though where there was warmth, cheese and beer. My kind of shoot.
To see the shots the girls chose, visit the Food Blog Mafia site.